Dec 8, 2023 - Health

Exhausted America: CDC says 3.3 million people suffer chronic fatigue syndrome

Center for Disease Control headquarters is seen in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data Friday indicating that roughly 3.3 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Why it matters: The study is the first nationally representative estimate of the condition and estimate proves larger than previous studies suggested, AP reported.

Catch up quick: Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition in which extreme fatigue is not helped by rest, according to the CDC.

  • Other symptoms can include sleep problems, trouble concentrating and dizziness.
  • Researchers have not determined what causes the illness and there are no specific laboratory tests to directly diagnose it. While some symptoms can be managed, there is no cure.

State of play: According to the CDC report, between 1.3% of U.S. adults surveyed in 2021 and 2022 had chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • The results show the condition "is not a rare illness," the CDC's Elizabeth Unger, one of the report's co-authors, told AP.
  • The National Health Interview Survey also found that prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome increased with age and was more common among women than men, per the CDC report.
  • It was also more common among white respondents than those of other racial groups.

Worth noting: True estimates of the prevalence of the illness may be higher, since many people with chronic fatigue syndrome are never diagnosed, the CDC noted.

  • The estimates also likely included some patients with long COVID, who can also suffer from exhaustion, brain fog and dizziness, AP reported, citing CDC officials.
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